SportsPulse: The Los Angeles Lakers are headed back to the NBA Finals after knocking off the Nuggets in Game 5, but LeBron James is not ready to celebrate anything yet.
Former President Barack Obama was the biggest-name “virtual fan” watching Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night. While he won’t be part of the virtual fan section for Friday’s Game 2 between the Miami Heat and LA Lakers, plenty of other celebrities will be watching.
They include musical artists (LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Timbaland, Rick Ross, Macy Gray, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, D-Nice, Schoolboy Q, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, Cordae, Chloe X Halle, Reason, Joe La Puma), actors (Jamie Foxx, Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Chloe & Halle Bailey, Jay Ellis, Marsai Martin, Rotimi, Yahya Adbul-Maheen II), NFL stars (Richard Sherman, Tyrod Taylor), an NBA player (Iman Shumpert), WNBA stars (Sue Bird, Chiney Ogwumike), a comedian (Desus Nice), an impressionist (Maxisnicee), a radio DJ (Big Boy), an ESPN NFL analyst (Mike Golic Jr) and host (Victoria Arlen)
Beyond Obama in the front row for Game 1, the NBA also featured a collection of the league’s former stars: Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Isiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Ray Allen, Robert Horry, Robert Parish, Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce. Also in attendance were about 60 first-time poll workers affiliated with “More Than a Vote,” LeBron James’ voter registration organization.
In addition, the league will host 50 boys and girls from “Challengers Clubhouse,” which is part of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles.
Since the NBA’s season restart began in July at its bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the league has showcased about 300 virtual fans on 17-foot videoboards during each game. How the participating 22 teams chose their virtual fans varied. The options included granting access to season ticket-holders or promotional deals. All teams have also included players’ family members as virtual fans.
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